Section 1 - What is Permaculture?

1 What is Permaculture?

In this book, basic information is given to get you started. Firstly, we look at the definition of Permaculture with a bit of history of the word. Secondly, we look at the overall design process and fields of study that inform Permaculture. Finally, we look at the four part Permaculture Decision Making Matrix which is the basis of the information in this book.

Permaculture Definition

It’s time to get started learning about Permaculture! In this first video of the book, we define the word, and talk about it’s origins.

Featured Links

In the video above, we make reference to Permaculture’s co-founder, Bill Mollison. You can read an interview with Bill in the featured links provided above where he talks about the Permaculture definition. We also make reference to water, food and shelter systems. A system is defined as “a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole.” So when we refer to water systems, we’re recognizing that the way we design for water on a Permaculture site takes into account its’ many interconnections, with soils, trees, water tables, the atmosphere, and wildlife.

Permaculture Design Process

We’re going to look now at the overall process of the Permaculture design system. Permaculture is multidisciplinary and multi-faceted, which makes Permaculture very dynamic, but also makes it hard to define. This video explains the wide array of influences and outputs of Permaculture design.

Featured Links

This video unites a number of diagrams that have been circulating Permaculture design course texts and media outlets for many years, including David Holmgren’s Permaculture Flower (link located in the featured links above). You will notice many analogies to a tree in this book, as the form of a tree provides so many opportunities to understand how nature works and how the Permaculture design system is modeled after nature.

Permaculture Decision-Making Matrix

This video consolidates the Permaculture design process into four distinct parts: topography, sectors, zones and principles. These are the major topics we will be looking at in this short introductory book.

The Permaculture decision-making matrix is a term and structure coined by Andrew Millison, but only represents a repackaging of Permaculture design process that is explained by Bill Mollison and many great teachers and practitioners. This decision making tool is useful as a basic outline of the main tools used in Permaculture design.